Tivertonhouse

Old Jan 16th, 2005, 02:25 PM
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Tivertonhouse

Tivertonhouse,

Have you been to Dominica or St. Vincent? We will be in St lucia next july----have been and love it---want to spend one week in Stl. and one on D or Stv. Am considering Callawishie Lodge on Dominica.

Would love Barbuda----different trip since we will have two children in tow.
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 01:13 AM
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Have liked St.Lucia a lot and Dominica's rather like a smaller, gentler. far lower-in=key Jamaica -- with a big drawback: no beaches. Funny thing is, most of the soap in Jamaica, from the blue coconut laundry bars to the Coco Butter/Castile beauty bars , is imported from/made on Dominica. Know people building a house to retire to there. But hiking in the rain, albeit on a beautiful island, isn't for me. Similarly, haven't been intrigued enuf to check out the lower Windwards/Grenadines since I'm not a sailor and a prefer places, if laid-back, with still a stronger sense of local culture. Outside of Jamaica, I've found The Seychelles and Brazil both great sensory-overload, life-alterating places/Jamaica however is just a 4 hour flight away for me. Sao Tome e Principe
and Bazuto are next on the wish list here.
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 02:17 AM
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Tiverton,
I find it very strange that one has traveled so extensivly and still find Jamaica on the upper end of the scale. I've been to Jamaica a few times, but have traveled throughout the Caribbean. Many favorites there. However for world, here's just grazing a few, not all included: Faroes, Azores, Canaries, Balaerics, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta/Gozo, Crete, Seychelles, Maldives, Andaman, Radang, Fiji, Tonga, Somoa, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Hawaii, Pitcairn, Easter Island
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 04:28 AM
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Yeah, Ripley's Believe-it-or-not time.
Jamaica can do that -- as can many places -- if you look beyond the obvious and stay away from touristlands
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 07:21 AM
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Tivertonhouse, thanks.

I am not drawn to Jamaica---realize the natural setting in Dominica may be the same, but hope the crime, safety is better than Jamaica. Since I am booked to StLucia again I am looking to spend one of the two weeks somewhere else. Barbados is too developed for my taste.

Traveler, any ideas on Dom. or St.V? Looks like you have been everywhere!
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 10:37 AM
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I can not help you on Dominica but I do know St. Vincent quite well. I've copied below a post I made elsewhere about the island. It seems, however, to have many of the same features as Dominica (volcanic, waterfalls, rainforests, minimal beaches or tourism infrastructure).

First of all, here's a link with good info about the capital city of Kingstown, written with an eye to visitors. http://svg.8m.net/ktown/Kingstown.html. I add this because far too many find the town intimidating (it really isn't after you get to know it) and give up on the island altogether.

----------

Unlike the smaller Grenadines (Bequia, Mustique, etc.), the main island of St. Vincent is not known for great beaches though there are a few hidden gems. It is, however, an ecotourist's paradise with something for everyone, no matter what your age or fitness level.

At the top end of exertion is a climb up the Soufriere volcano - 2 hours or more each way plus a long drive to get there, but well worth it when you reach the top. (Take stout shoes and a sweater - it's cold up there!)

At the other end, is a taxi tour around Kingstown including a visit to historic Fort Charlotte and the Botanical Gardens, the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.

One of my personal favourites is a boat trip up the west coast to the Falls of Baleine (note that part of this is a short scramble across some rocks). Most trips also include a stop at one of the locations where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed and a beach/snorkelling stop at pretty Mount Wynne Bay.

Another excellent trip takes you through the centre of the island to the spectacular Mesopotamia Valley and then up to the Montreal Gardens, a labour of love incorporating formal gardens, mountain views and tropical rain forest.

Waterfall lovers in good shape will enjoy a hike into the triple Trinity Falls whereas those less fit would enjoy picnicking and splashing at the newly opened Darkview Falls in a romantic bamboo glade. If you go to Darkview Falls, you might also have time to work in a short hike up the Buccament Nature Trail, home to the endangered St. Vincent parrot. The best time to see them is in the late afternoon, but you will certainly hear them calling all around you (sounding a bit like a squeaky rocking chair).

And I havn't even mentioned the Carib stones, the bamboo factory, the arrowroot plant, the Owia Salt Ponds, the Carib Villages, Black Tunnel Point, Rabacca Dry River and the Hadley Orchid Farm !

Although the real beauty of St. Vincent is in the country, Kingstown itself is entertaining too - a raffish rowdy West Indian town - some tourists find it intimidating; others are fascinated by the street-life and the colonial architecture (much sadly being torn down in the name of progress). It's fun to go from visiting the bizarre St. Mary's church to the austere Anglican church next door. Drop in for a rum in the Cobblestone Hotel bar. Visit the lively markets (but people do expect you to ask permission before taking their pictures!).

The largest tour companies are Fantasea and Hazeco, both entirely reputable. I usually go with a Mom and Pop outfit called Chez Norris who do personal tailored tours for small groups at reasonable rates, and they always include a great lunch. Their email address is [email protected].

The best accommodation on St. Vincent, now that Camelot Inn has closed, is the Grandview but there is a range of choice including lots of places with moderate rates as well as the 'cheap and cheerful' B&B's like Chez Norris.

If you really are set on beaches, stay in one of the hotels in the area called Villa, just north of the airport and hang out there. All beaches in St. Vincent are public. That includes the beach at Young Island Resort, also in Villa and accessible by a short (really short) ferry ride. Grandview is there but perched on a hill well above the beach. Beachcomber's Hotel, right on the beach, is friendly as is the very basic Paradise Inn - Beachcomber's has a pool and a small spa as well as beachfront. There is snorkelling around the rocks at the far right of the beach.

Or, if you are more adventurous, take a picnic and taxi to deserted and dramatic Brighton Beach (wild Atlantic side surf is broken down by huge boulders offshore to create a fine swimming oasis).

Hope this helps!



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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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P.S. and if you do want to get to excellent beaches, they are one hour away by ferry on Bequia.
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 12:46 PM
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Curiousx, thanks. Tell me about Kingstown----is it safe? We will two children 8 and 10? Where is the Fort in Pirates of the Caribbean---Kingstown?
Is a week too long on StVincent?
Thanks.
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 03:24 PM
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Croix, the Pirates of the Caribbean set is on the east coast, a good long way out of Kingstown. The best way to get there is by boat. The Hazeco and Fantasea tour companies include this as a stop in their day trip to the Falls of Baleine. I think your 8 and 10 year olds might really enjoy this trip. The sea on the east coast is leeward and therefore very calm although it can sometimes be a bit rough just as you round the last point to the anchorage for the Falls.

Also, although I have never found any official confirmation, Fort Charlotte, which is one of the major tourist attractions in Kingstown, looks to me SO like the fort in Pirates - especially the execution scene and the scene where our heroine falls off the parapet into the surging water below.

I read somewhere that they will be filming again in February but, again, this is just rumour. What is not rumour is that members of the cast (Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush) stayed in Villa during the filming - if I remember correctly, Rush stayed at Young Island resort and Depp stayed in a yacht anchored offshore. I also ran into Orlando Bloom on Mustique but that must have been a day off!

Yes, I think that you might find a week in St. Vincent too long - but you could easily split the time between Bequia and St. Vincent and get the best of both worlds.

And yes, I find Kingstown safe although, as in any other urban setting, there are places I don't go, nor do I wander around alone at night. In many ways it reminds me of Castries. That said, I don't think I'd go walking around Kingstown en famille - I took my nieces (aged 12 and 7) once and they were not happy campers...they much preferred the taxi tours we took with Dani and Norris.

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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 03:30 PM
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West West - the Pirates set (and the Falls of Baleine are on the West coast)...sorry for that lapse folks!
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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Curiousx, thank you. If like Castries then we are fine. I had a water taxi fellow that took care of us and was there to pick us up when we wanted to venture on. I am looking for a different adventure for the other week and also a week that is cheaper than the Hilton on Stl.

Thanks so much for the info. Happy Travels!
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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My pleasure - glad to be of help. BTW you won't find water taxis in Kingstown but lots of land taxis - the two I recommend are Phyllis Taxi and (once again) Norris. There are a couple of water taxis operating in Villa but I usually get around by dollar bus.
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Old Jan 18th, 2005, 03:31 AM
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You'll find Dominica a neighborly place, much like the Jamaican countryside. It's not urban, not touristic-centric but inward-looking, conservative in values and 'old-fashioned'.
I'd not worry about 'crime'.
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Old Mar 4th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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Update - the Falls of Baleine has been temporarily closed to visitors owing to rockfalls. I hope they will be reopened by the time you are there.

Filming of Pirates II and III is scheduled for March and April, and there have already been casting calls in St. Vincent and Bequia (particularly looking for people with "removable parts"). It looked as though the he crew were starting to refurbish the pirate village when I sailed past recently.

My buddy Norris is cutting his tours season short this year but, in his absence, you could try Trembler taxi and tell him what you want (a great trip is a drive through the Mesopotamia Valley to Montreal Gardens followed by a BBQ or picnic and swim on Brighton Beach).
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Old Mar 4th, 2005, 05:37 PM
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When we sailed with Captain Yannis near the Tobago Cays, they told us that we were sailing near the island where the Johnny Depp character was held prisoner. Is this true, or was the film based just near St Vincent? Just "curious".
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Old Mar 5th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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They were telling the truth. The name of the cay in question is Petit Tabac. It is the southernmost cay, to the far right of the horseshoe reef, and used mostly by fishermen.
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Old Mar 5th, 2005, 07:16 AM
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Thanks Curiousx and all. We are booked to stay at the Old Fort for 4 nights in Bequia. Probably will go to St Vincent for a day trip. What is the best bar/restaraunt with a good ocean or otherwise view with our children for lunch?
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Old Mar 5th, 2005, 09:26 AM
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I would pack a picnic or go for the pretty open-air French Verandah at the Mariners Inn in Villa. Both pool and beach are available. I happen to have a menu handy from my recent trip there. Light lunches include fries (10 EC), club and panini sandwiches (15-20 EC; various larger dishes such as breaded balihoo, chivito burger, smoked chicken leg, pasta, hot salads (nicoise, greek, chicken, fish) for 30-35 EC; soups (15-18 EC).

Hope this helps.
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Old Mar 7th, 2005, 04:09 PM
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Curiousx, thank you so much for the great info for this off the beaten path destination. A democracy took over in the family of 4 and the vote to take a day and 1/2 to get to Bequia won. We look forward---I am still skeptical on St.Vincent, but I have a friend who has reliable contact that will show us around if we go for the day. My wife wants to see the several churches and the Anglican church. Thanks again.
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Old Mar 7th, 2005, 04:22 PM
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" if you look beyond the obvious and stay away from touristlands"

...that's the ticket to enjoying Jamaica. Very few people do that though.
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